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On the women’s lacrosse world cup that started in Guildford yesterday…

I get many press releases come in through the e-mail address associated with this blog and I rarely do much with them. However once in a while I see something which I think would be interesting to use and comment on. One of those things happened this morning when I got a press release about the women’s lacrosse world cup. This event got underway yesterday and I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of sport but I hadn’t even come across one single murmur on this event and it is going on right here in the UK, Guildford to be precise.

In the notes section English Lacrosse state that, ‘English Lacrosse drives participation of the sport in England. Lacrosse has experienced unprecedented growth over the last five years with now over 30,000 people picking up a stick and playing the game each year. With the 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s World Cup taking place in England, the exposure and interest in our game has never been greater.

My knowledge of lacrosse is minimal but I know former Penn State running back Evan Royster played the sport and I’m pretty sure Chris Hogan of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots did as well, also at Penn State.

Below is the press release and here is the playing schedule, so if you are in the area and fancy watching some top level sporting action then get down to Guildford’s Surrey Sports Park at some point over the next ten days…

The FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup kicked off today at Guildford’s Surrey Sports Park, with tournament hosts England facing off against Wales.

England got their 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 12-6 victory over home nation rivals Wales.

A strong all-round display spearheaded by England captain and game MVP, Laura Merrifield, saw the hosts home after a tight first-half.

Princess Anne, who has been the patron of English Lacrosse for more than 20 years, attended the opening ceremony yesterday, marking the start of the largest women’s sporting event in the UK during 2017.

Twenty five nations will play a total of 97 games of lacrosse over the course of the tournament, building to the showpiece final on Saturday 22nd July.

A 2,500 seat stadium has been created around the main pitch at Surrey Sport Park. A total of 17,000 tickets have been sold for the event, reflecting the worldwide growth in popularity of the sport.

Mark Coups, CEO, English Lacrosse, commented: “What a fantastic way to kick of FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. Whether you’re an avid follower of the sport, or a new-comer, we encourage everyone to get involved and join in the fun. We look forward to welcoming fans and players from all around the world to Surrey, for what is set to be a thrilling tournament.”

Philip Howell, Chief Executive of investment management firm, Rathbones, commented: “2017 is shaping up to be a watershed year for women in sports, with events such as the Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup, and FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup set to boost interest in women’s sports. It’s our hope that the Rathbones World Cup will inspire existing and prospective lacrosse players to pick up a stick and get involved. We at Rathbones are very passionate about the opportunities and values that sport provides, such as team work, commitment and resilience. We are proud of our collaboration with English Lacrosse and Lacrosse Scotland over the past 6 years and look forward to a brilliant world cup.

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On why I don’t automatically support the English at sport…

England won a thrilling first test at Lords on Monday and usually I’d be dead chuffed but I slumped as I saw New Zealand just about not make it over the line. For you see in this Test series I’m rooting for the Black Caps and not the English and it is isn’t an abnormality and I’ll tell you why.

When Andrew Strauss banged on about ‘brand of cricket’ upon his hire, he hit the nail on the head for me. In all sports I root for various things but the way a person or team plays a sport is a big part of it and that includes personality. In this instance there can be little doubt that New Zealand play a brand of cricket that people the whole world over can get behind. Brendon McCullum can grabbed New Zealand cricket and dragged it forward with an all-out attacking approach and it is great to see. A team that stand as a unit and all buy into what their captain is doing. At the World Cup there was one team you wanted to watch and that was New Zealand because you knew what you were getting – a thrill a minute. He is the only man who when he comes into bat, you stop whatever you are doing to watch and his team follow his example.

Speaking yesterday the New Zealand captain opined about England, ‘What is their style that they want to be known for as a team, heading forward? Was their last performance how they want to play the game, or was it more of a case of maybe stumbling on it?‘ and he’s spot on. So much talk about a revival of English cricket based on this one win but there was a reason for it – when you get drawn into a slug match with New Zealand then the only way you can ever win is it to toe-to-toe with them. Dour plodding cricket that can win you matches but doesn’t win you friends. Lets be honest here as well, England won the first Test but they did so by always bowling in the favourable conditions and in cricket and at Lords – that is a big slice of luck to fall into.

All teams win teams in different ways, Chelsea were one of the most beautiful sides to watch for half a season and then they became pragmatic and less exciting. Still they kept winning. You play to your strengths and to the players that you have available at the time. If England’s best players aren’t attacking gung-ho players then they can’t play like that and win repeatedly. That just isn’t going to happen. The second Test gets under way in just under an hour and a half )weather permitting) at the time of writing and I’ll be fascinated to see if England revert back to type or whether McCullum’s swashbuckling approach will drag them out of their shell. The Ashes are only what, six/seven weeks away and England need to know what their identity is going into a series against the best team in the world.

My stance doesn’t just stop at cricket, for example I was all over the shop watching Goran Ivanisevic beating Tim Henman at Wimbledon in 2001. Goran’s approach and personality was fun to root for and Tim – as nice as he may be – just isn’t someone you can root for based on anything but his nationality. In Formula 1 I always rooted for Senna, then Barrichello and now I quietly root for Alonso and the Ferrari’s and now Vettel has left Red Bull I feel as though I can root for him a bit. I liked Mark Webber when he was the underdog in that team as well. Nothing against Lewis or Jenson but I’ve just never found them that likeable (although I think Jenson was more to do with the fact ITV slobbered all over him when they had the rights – he is clearly a pretty likeable chap now we actually hear about him and not just how amazing he is via James Allen).

In golf I don’t automatically support our players (unless it is the Ryder Cup of course) but if Lefty or the Big Easy are in the mix on Sunday in a major then it is very likely that I’ll be rooting for them. Lefty because of the way he plays and the Big Easy because he is a great player who didn’t get the credit he deserved in his pomp. It is also wel known that I root for old players who were past greats to have on big run at a big title again. Look at when both Ian Woosnam and Tom Watson led The Open going into Sunday, I was pulling for them both to win.

In general though this comes back to a wider issue. Just because I was born here doesn’t mean I feel I should idly support fellow teams and players from these islands. I may be British but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a mind of my own. Many believe that we as a nation need to be more British than we currently are and get back to British values instead of becoming a multicultural society. To those people I shake my head in despair. We are one nation but more importantly we are but one race in a universe full of different ones. We should stand side-by-side and learn from and grow with each other. we are more the same than we are different, so why are some people so intent on forcing divisions and cultural differences when in fact we as a race have far more important issues to deal with than the sense of nationality? That my friends is a question to which I do not have the answer.

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The ‘casual sexism’ of Andy Murray’s win stopping 77 years of hurt.

My blood people. My blood. You have endangered that blood by trying to make it boil. All afternoon and evening last night and now this morning. I need a hot tub to relax in (well ok I just want a hot tub and think that this would be the perfect excuse) but what has got my blood boiling you ask? The faux sexism regarding Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon yesterday.

You see it has been 77 years since a British man has held aloft the Wimbledon Men’s Singles trophy. The thing is though instead of enjoying that triumph people are looking for every way to attack and use this victory to make their point. Twitter was full of ‘Don’t you remember Virginia Wade’ such quotes yesterday as she was the last woman to hold aloft the Wimbledon Women’s Singles trophy to have hailed from the British Isles and she did so in 1977, which as basic mathematicians will tell you is more recent than 1936.

Now that is a fine point but if we are looking at all British victories at Wimbledon in the main events (singles and doubles for both men and women as well as mixed) then of course it was only last year when Jonathan Marray held aloft a Wimbledon trophy having won the Men’s Doubles. In 2007 Andy’s own brother lifted the Mixed Doubles trophy and if you really want to be pedantic and say that they had help from non-British partners then go back to 1987 when Jo Durie and Jeremy Bates were British winners of the Mixed Doubles at SW19.

Stephen Tall today blogged about the headline in The Times today which was ‘Murray ends 77-year wait for British win’ and exclaims As if it would have killed the headline writer to say 36 years (accurate) instead of 77 (inaccurate). Well Stephen as you well know 36 is not accurate. It cannot be accurate. The only accurate responses are either one year or 77. At no point does the headline writer refer to singles play so it either has to be one (the last British winner of any sort) or 77 (the last Men’s winner) you can’t just decide that singles play was intimated because it fits your point.

See this is the type of thing I have seen for the majority of the past 24 hours. People manipulate things to fit their own agenda or point. Facts get thrown out of the window and accuracy that people are pleading for is something they have missed entirely. Now if anyone – whether face to face or in the media – says that Andy Murray’s win ended 77 of singles hurt at Wimbledon for British players then that would be inaccurate and sexist. If they say that Andy Murray’s win ended British hurt at Wimbledon then either they mean the Men’s singles or instead of being sexist they just don’t know about Jonathan Marray, Jamie Murray, Jo Durie, Jeremy Bates, Virginia Wade etc.

The thing is folks I have yet to see any commentator, yet to see any media outlet, yet to speak to anyone – let me repeat that – anyone – who has said that Andy Murray’s win ended 77 of singles hurt at Wimbledon for British players. Not one. They have either just said hurt at Wimbledon or hurt in the Men’s singles at Wimbledon. So either they are correct or they don’t care about all other events about from the Men’s singles including Men’s doubles and male participants in the Mixed doubles.

However why let facts get in the way of faux outrage. This is why sexism kills me. People will see sexism in everything. I know people who think holding a door open for a woman is sexist. I know of people who don’t. I know of people who thought it was sexist that the Men’s marathon awards ceremony at the Olympics was during the Closing Ceremony. They thought women should have just as much right to the final awards ceremony as men. So do these people think that the Women’s Wimbledon Final should be played on the same day as the Men? Should they be played at the same time and given equal billing? If they are played on the same day and the Women’s final is first then is it sexist and demeaning and making the Men out to be more important? At Wimbledon women are asked to play back-to-back days (Monday/Tuesday of the second week) whereas men aren’t. Some say that is sexist.

I could go on and on but if you are to plead sexism – and we all depressingly know that there is more than enough sexism to go around – but if you are to see sexism then actually find something sexist to be mad at. Don’t manipulate a story to fit your agenda. As for Stephen’s take on would it kill the headline writer to say 36 years which would’ve been accurate. If Stephen can point out in the headline where it says ‘singles’ then I’ll grant him that it is casual sexism. However he won’t be able to so it cannot be sexist. Either it is ignoring all men and women who have won Wimbledon trophies since 1936 or it is talking about the Men’s Singles. It cannot be anything else.

Who cares about facts anyway. Outrage people. Outrage!

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BBC drop Monaco GP to pick up Canadian GP – Full BBC/Sky F1 Coverage for 2013

The BBC and Sky have started to make announcements about their coverage of Formula 1 for the 2013 season. Sky basically have announced that it is very much status quo. David Croft & Martin Brundle remain as the voice and face of the sport as expected. Simon Lazenby keeps his spot as presenter despite criticism. Damon Hill and Antony Davidson remain and Johnny Herbert returns to the channel after joining early in 2012 and becoming a firm favourite. Georgie Thompson stays as well and Ted Kravitz leads the pit team with Natalie Pinkham getting drivers interviews. So as expected Sky very much have kept with its team from 2012 with only Herbert added to the opening race team and he had become a mainstay since early in 2012.

Over at the BBC though decisions had to be made as Jake Humphrey quit the BBC to become the face of Football on BT Vision. Well they’ve made their first decision as surprisingly Suzi Perry has replaced him as the anchor. Most thought Lee McKensie would be promoted but they’ve gone for Suzi Perry – who has worked on Moto GP for the channel although she quit that role in part because of the excess travel involved – so coming back to do F1 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but of course presenting Moto GP and F1 is two very different things – with two very different salaries.

No word yet from the BBC on whether Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard will be returning but with Sky having named their line-up there doesn’t seem to be room for them unless they went to a three-man booth and personally I wouldn’t like to see that.

The other thing we now know is which channel will be showing which races. The full calendar is below:

17 March Australian Grand Prix – Sky
24 March Malaysian Grand Prix – Sky
14 April Chinese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
21 April Bahrain Grand Prix – Sky
12 May Spanish Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
26 May Monaco Grand Prix – Sky
09 June Canadian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
30 June British Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
7 July German Grand Prix = Sky
21 July ‘A.N. Other European Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
28 July Hungarian Grand Prix – Sky
25 August Belgian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
08 September Italian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
22 September Singapore Grand Prix – Sky
06 October Korean Grand Prix – Sky
13 October Japanese Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
27 October Indian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky
03 November Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sky
17 November United States Grand Prix – Sky
24 November Brazilian Grand Prix – BBC/Sky

The biggest difference is that the BBC have used their first three picks on Britain and Brazil again but Monaco has gone with Canada having gone to the Beeb. An interesting choice as the Canadian Grand Prix has long been one of the very best and is held in prime-time. The Italian GP also goes to the BBC this time around (guessing Australia, USA, Monaco were Sky’s first three picks) but overall you’d probably say that the BBC are getting a better quality of race this time around.

The July 21 race is expected to be either Turkey or possibly a return of either the Austrian or French Grand Prix. I’d love to see the Austrian race return as I think the A1 Ring brought us a few really good races as the track as several really good overtaking opportunities. This race has been added to the calendar because the second race in the United States (New Jersey) has been postponed until 2014.

Last year was a thriller for Formula 1 fans and if next year can be as good then we’ll be in for a fantastic year of Motorsport. Whether you watch on the Beeb or on Sky the coverage should be some of the very best in the world.

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More PE each week is good but it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ problem

I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone that knows me that I was would enjoy two hours of PE a day. In fact not a lot would’ve made me happier at school than spending ten hours a week playing sport. Yes I said playing sport and not doing Physical Education. I think there is a distinct difference between the two and one that should not be ignored.

When the Mayor of London said last week that he thought two hours of PE a day was a great idea then he’s right. It is. However great ideas in theory don’t always equate to being great ideas in practice. If there was compulsory two hours of PE a day then most schools would need to either find eight hours extra a week or cut time from other subjects. Now if you were to ask me whether PE was more important than algebra then I’d say it was but many would disagree.

How many students would like the school day lengthened by an hour each day so extra PE time could be taught? Not many I suspect and those who don’t like PE anyway would be distraught but maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing. We have a very short school day as it is so what is there to stop the school day going on an extra hour each day?

I remember in Year 8 we had double Games and double Geography back-to-back between morning break and Lunch. Our Games teacher was also our Geography teacher so it was ok as we often came in late all hot and bothered when the girls were sitting there waiting for five minutes for us to turn up (he often overran the Games lesson as a) we liked it and b) he’d forget the time) and we had no issues being late as he knew why. However this also happened in Year 7 but this wasn’t the same teacher. Luckily he was a good teacher and was understanding. I know other kids didn’t have that understanding. I do think PE and/or Games should preferably be taught in a period where there is a natural break after it or preferably at the end of the day although a whole school having PE last thing doesn’t really work.

I can hear the tens of you that will read this yelling out ‘but I didn’t like PE so I wouldn’t like this’ but the reality is most of us didn’t like most of our lessons anyway. The important thing is to give options. At school we didn’t really have many PE options. The choice was made for us. Also looking back I think at both my senior schools there were only four full-time PE staff at both so that doesn’t leave to much wiggle room for multiple choices. So staffing levels need to be addressed if this government are genuinely keen on making PE a vital part of the curriculum again.

Personally speaking I think there are many things that students need to learn but don’t and I like the Japanese model of after-school clubs that cater for all. Whilst Japanese classes may finish at say around 3, kids won’t go home until nearer 6 as they have a variety of after-school clubs that they have to attend but they get the choice of what to attend but I’m digressing away from just the PE aspect and into the whole make-up of school days and that is probably not the way to go at this juncture.

Back at PE. At my first secondary school we had both PE and Games. So PE was things like Gym and working on general fitness and Games was whatever sport you were playing that half-term so Rugby, Hockey, Basketball, Cricket etc… – we were a Rugby school and not a Football one. Lots of talk about Indian dance and I do recall somewhere in the annals of my mind that we did do dance for a half-term at some point. I see no problem with dance being taught in a PE lesson. PE should mostly be about getting kids active.

PE is not a ‘one size fits all’ lesson but to be blunt neither is any subject taught in school. Schools are often about things you enjoy and then things you endure. Technology for me was something I had less than zero interest in. Whether it be graphics or woodwork or design or cooking I just didn’t care. I possibly could have used that cooking skill now as I live off microwave meals and bunging things in the oven but I still had to do it for two hours a week. The same should be levied at PE.

I have read so many people saying that they had bad experiences of PE at school and that we shouldn’t force it upon those that don’t like it because they didn’t. Well that’s crap. We can’t pick and choose what we do at school until we are 14 pretty much and PE is not only part of a broad education it is part of making this country a healthier one. PE can inspire just as much as Maths or English can. Reading Shakespeare or Dickens will inspire a writer but running around a muddy field will inspire someone else.

Physical Education can and should become part of the Olympics legacy. They want to inspire a generation well this is the opportunity. If I was Michael Gove I would find a way to extend the school day and get an hour of PE at least three days a week and community projects in two days a week. Education isn’t just about learning stuff but also about maturing and getting interested in things. After-school clubs were in my day pretty much limited to sporting endeavours but how good would it be if lots of other interests were catered for? Building robots or making a community radio station or fashion design or whatever. We need to inspire kids and get them interested in things after school that aren’t going home and watching cartoons, playing on the games console, surfing the internet or wandering around the shops.

PE can be a big part of this but there are other things that will inspire people. Yes this would involve more work for teachers but for me the onus on teachers now to fill students brains with useless information to pass exams and to get up league tables. Teachers should be there to inspire kids in whatever interests them. All teachers have hobbies that they are interested in and no doubt they’ll be many students who would also be interested in that.

So to conclude as I have again waffled off subject. I think the school day should be extended. PE options should be wide and varied. However inspiring a generation isn’t just about sport it is about everything. Students need inspiring or they’ll do nothing and a motivated student in one capacity will lead to doing well in others.

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So who will make the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist? Lets have an early look…

Last year many people were up in arms that there were no women on the SPOTY shortlist. Well this year that won’t be the case but I thought I’d have a look at how things stand for the annual event in December:

The following are in without any shadow of a doubt:

Bradley Wiggins – The guy became the first British winner of the Tour de France. He didn’t need to win Olympic gold to get on this list but he did anyway. Wiggins is a no doubter and is the favourite and rightly so. The TdF is an insane event and his performance was just as mad. Seriously impressive.

Jessica Ennis – A woman. Rejoice. She was one of the faces of the Olympic Games and not only did she win Gold but she did it in style and started off the Saturday night of joy that was quite something for us Brits. Any multi-event athlete in Athletics won wins Gold in an Olympic Games or World Championship deserves to – and would make the top ten.

Mo Farah – Again no shock here. Mo did the 5k, 10k double at the Olympic Games. Yeah he’s in.

Rory McIlroy – Whilst everyone was watching the Olympic Games come to a close Rory was winning the final golf major of the year. Any golfer or tennis player who wins a major will make the shortlist – even in an Olympic year.

They are the four who are no doubters take it to the bank top ten.

The following are probably in:

Andy Murray – I want to say he is certainly in but he could still miss out. He got to the final both in Australia and Wimbledon before winning Gold and a Silver at the Olympics.

Ben Ainslie – He may have been a bit lucky to win his Gold but he won it and having won Gold in his fourth successive games that puts him in the ‘probably’ list and closer to certainly in than ‘in the mix’

Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny – I have lumped these three in together as they are an interesting one to see how it’ll turn out. All three won two Gold medals in the Velodrome but who do you pick as not all three are making the list surely? You’d lean towards Laura Trott because she won a multi-event event but we’ll see.

Charlotte Dujardin – She won a couple of Gold’s is the Dressage and two Gold’s in two different events always gets you noticed. Even though above Sir Chris and Jason also win two gold’s in two different events they are probably outshone by a fellow sportsman and there are only ten spots up for grabs…

Katherine Grainger – She won one Gold just like many other rowers but she was the one with the back story. She had been so close yet so far away before. If there is one thing that Brits like then that is someone who finally wins after being so close so many times. A rower will surely make the list and if one does then she’ll be the one.

The following are what I’d say are ‘in the mix’:

Alistair Brownlee – This is a very interesting one. He dominated triathlon this year and it is a sport no-one usually even notices but being an Olympic year they did – and he won it. Triathlon is quite something but will it be enough?

Nicola Adams – She won Gold but unlike the other Gold winners she is a she and not a he – this is a story in itself. If any of the boxers get the nod it will be her.

Tom Daley – He didn’t win Gold but he has a back story and had many people hooked for his final. That is enough to get him in the mix.

Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button – If either driver wins the F1 World Drivers Championship then they’ll get there. No doubt. However as we know we are months away from that but worth acknowledging that they are around.

I don’t expect to see any footballers make the grade as the star footballers of 2012 in the UK are both foreigners – Robin van Persie and Didier Drogba. Also I don’t see any of the England cricket team having stood out in 2012 but I suppose it is possible one makes the shortlist but unlikely.

No doubt many will disagree but the top four are in and the others are probably around where I’ve placed them. I know there are other Gold medal winners that I haven’t mentioned but I don’t think they’ll make it. I don’t see more than one Olympic rower or boxer making it or the winner of the clay-pigeon shooting or the kayak sprint.

Remember you can always gamble on who’ll actually win SPOTY and you can get some of the best free bet offers around at

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My Top Ten moments of London 2012 so far…

Inspired by the Queen of Lib Dem blogging thoughts on the matter. I have decided to put together my top ten list of the Olympic Games so far. She says that boys running fast for a few seconds doesn’t do it for her. Maybe it is a man thing, a cave-man instinct to know who is the fastest person on the planet. It is like how many people describe Man v Food as a man thing…I suspect the 100m will rank highly for me but let’s go…

Well Caron and myself agree on the number one as the Queen’s acting debut in a scene with James Bond was kick-arse. I didn’t see it live as I had a visitor and he wasn’t interested in the opening ceremony but when I saw it I thought it was just amazing.

However the excellence of women athletes isn’t number two for me. Oh no. The Men’s 100m Final is still – and always has been – and always will be the grand-daddy of the whole games. The fact that NBC were not showing it live in the States was sheer madness as they were showing a pre-season NFL game instead but still the fastest person on Earth. Yes. There is a reason over 20million people watched it in the UK. I had Bolt losing until I saw him in his semi-final and then I was all in on Bolt and he didn’t disappoint. Awesome.

Thirdly words that will resonate with me and it should with us all, ‘I am proud to get a bronze, there is nothing to be embarrassed about,‘ – Becky Adlington after getting bronze in the 800m freestyle. Damn straight. I think that is something we all need to remember. Not being the best on a particular day doesn’t mean you are a failure. Not by a long shot. I was always a Becky Adlington fan but after that she went even further up in my estimations. Really impressed.

On to number four and this is a hard one because it was so painful but it was so gripping – in a horrific way. Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase taking silver in the lightweight double sculls final. First of all a seat broke in the boat but they were allowed to take part in the restart and then they led for the whole 2000m course apart from that final 50m and sadly that is the most important. The race was dramatic enough but their interview with Sir Steve Redgrave and John Inverdale was just heartbreaking but it is something that will stick in the mind for many years to come.

Next up I have to say that the infectiousness of Laura Trott. I’m a sucker for happy people as happy people make others happy but this girl has overcome serious physical issues to become a double Olympic Champion at just the age of 20. Serious talent but also someone with a seriously infectious personality.

We are on to number six and Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium. As the night start we knew Jessica Ennis was going to win Gold. We had high hopes for Mo Farah but Greg Rutherford came from nowhere to grab that Long Jump Gold. It made you proud to be British. It really did.

At number seven I’m going with Chad Le Clos’s Dad. We’d all be proud to have a kid win an Olympic Gold medal but boy was he proud. An exceptional interview made him the biggest star who wasn’t a member of the Royal Family who wasn’t actually an athlete of these games.

One of the men he beat was Michael Phelps and I personally have to mention him. I truly love the swimming and that and the athletics are my favourite part of the games. Phelps was truly great after he got that monkey off his back and a pleasure to watch one final time.

The whole cycling team needs to be mentioned so here they are at number nine. We tuned into the velodrome and basically we got to learn pretty damn quickly that Gold medals were in the offing. They were all terrific and so many Gold’s and World Record’s. Sir Chris Hoy finished it off but they were all out of this world.

Lastly the BBC’s reaction to Mo Farah winning Gold. That is quite simply what sport is all about.

Although ‘Here comes what his name’ comes close to being just as good.

I haven’t put in the coverage by the BBC yet because it needs a whole section of its own. From wonderful presenters (bar Gary Lineker) to having every single event live online or through the red button or on dedicated extra channels on Sky and Virgin to excellent commentary teams and pundits. I’m a Sky guy but the BBC still know how to cover sport. I might say that Sky have the better football and F1 talent but seriously the Beeb have nailed this.

Sue Barker is supreme, Clare Balding is wonderful (will she front Horse Racing on Channel 4?) Hazel Irvine is solid enough and Gabby Logan was underused in the highlights show. Lineker is clearly the weak link. He’s not even good at football presenting and he’s been doing that for nigh on two decades. Ian Thorpe, Michael Johnson, John McEnroe – the BBC still have fantastic pundits. They might all get handsomely paid but boy do they deliver.

The BBC is paid for by us but with the Olympics they are starting to pay some of that money back in the form of outstanding Olympic coverage.

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When did we turn into a bunch of pathetic whiny babies?

Not about the Lib Dems before anyone jumps in but more Gymnastics. The GB team had a silver medal in the Men’s all around but got bumped down to bronze after the Japanese protested the score of one of their performances. The protest was upheld so the Japanese got what they deserved. However this hasn’t exactly been the way social media has seen the action.

Both my Facebook timeline and my twitter feed has exploded with people wanting to declare war on Japan, boycott sushi, never visit Japan on holiday, calling the Japanese cheats (and much worse) and I am sitting here thinking ‘wtf?’

This is the first summer Olympics of the twitter era where people can put down their initial reactions without actually thinking. The judges looked at the protest and agreed they had marked the Japanese incorrectly. They didn’t just knock them up a digit or two but they went from fourth to second. So clearly a score was very incorrect. The Olympics are all about fairness and as much as it would’ve been great for the British team to get the silver, a bronze is what they deserved and that is what they have got.

What I find truly bizarre is the amount of people who are suddenly experts on gymnastics and gymnastics scoring. It was similar to the afternoon and the Pete Waterfield/Tom Daley diving. Most of us know nothing about these sports apart from the basics. In gymnastics if you nail a dismount then that is good. If you don’t then it isn’t. In synchronised diving going in straight is good and being identical to your fellow diver is also good. Lots of splash and not being identical to your partner is bad.

I know people are frustrated with the Japanese protesting the result but what if the boot had been on the other foot? Imagine the British getting scored incorrectly and not getting a medal. We’d all say that there was a conspiracy and the world hates us.

I know twitter is great and everyone can tweet as they see fit but sometimes people really do tweet without engaging a brain…

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Ed Miliband to call for an inquiry into David Beckham’s omission from the Olympic football squad

The Rambles of Neil Monnery have been contacted by a source that wants to remain anonymous with a leaked copy of a speech that Ed Miliband will give later in the weeK:

Thank you, thank you, you’re far too kind. Can I give an encore…just joshing ladies and gentleman. I know you aren’t here to listen to me rap. You are here to listen to me ask the government to open a governmental inquiry into why David Beckham has been left out of the squad for the football at the Olympics games here in London, which are proudly brought to you by and of course the Labour Party who were in charge when we beat those garlic loving French twits to win the rights to host the games. The Tories did nothing…

Anyway David Beckham – or Sir David Beckham as I’d have him known if I had the power because he’s so amazing and awesome and deep down we all wish we were him – but yes David Beckham has given his life and soul for the people of the UK only to be discarded by a man who has decided that the whiny Welsh tit Craig Bellamy is more worthy of representing our great nation than David Beckham. Does anyone remember his goal against Greece at Old Trafford? What did Craig Bellamy do in that game? Naff all that’s what. Some may say that he did nothing because he is Welsh but I say he dd nothing because he’s nothing compared to Lord Becks.

Also Ryan Giggs was picked and all he’s ever done for the UK was spend a lot of money on condoms. Is this the face we want to show to the world? A man who would screw his brothers wife for years because he deemed himself worthy? I do not think so. Lord Sir David has never cheated on his wife and even though there have been rumours who are we going to believe? A great Englishman or some unknown bint? Yeah exactly. Lastly a player who wasn’t even deemed better than Martin Kelly is better than Lord Sir David? Oh pur-lease.

Stuart Pearce has done nothing. Has David Beckham ever missed a penalty in a penalty shoot-out? No he hasn’t. Well he has but Uri Geller moved the ball so we can’t count that and it was only a quarter-final. Pearce did it is a semi-final and that was at a World Cup. Also he made money out of being rubbish by getting involved in a Pizza Hut commercial campaign. Did Becks resort to such low level? Did he heck.

I think it is clear that the government are at fault and a full inquiry would reveal the truth behind the cover-up. Some say that the cover-up is about aliens and that we have been visited for many years by little green men but that is just a smokescreen. The real conspiracy is about Stuart Pearce being the puppet of the PM and his coalition government as they try to keep public spirits down so they can carry on rinsing the Great British public of their soul and any optimism for economic recovery. A Beckham led victory in the football tournament at the Olympics would have brought back the feel-god factor that would stop the coalition government spending all of their time and energy slagging off the Labour Party.

It is not as though Ed Balls was the City Minister during the LIBOR scandal. That is just more lies from the coalition. If the government don’t open a full inquiry into this event then all they are doing is showing the great people of this country that they have something to hide. If you have nothing to hide David Cameron then I ask you this, why not have a public inquiry into this disgraceful behaviour of a true British hero?

The Labour Party treats its national heroes with the dignity that they deserve. The coalition government just wash their hands of it and pretend that it isn’t the right time or place to interfere with a football manager. Well I say this, if this isn’t the right time or place then when is the right time and place? A Labour cabinet would never have allowed this travesty to have come about and if we see no public inquiry then we all know what to do come 2015.

Labour – the party of the heroes. The Tories and evil Lib Dems – the party of the gobby, the shaggers and the isn’t as good as Martin Kelly’s.

*wait for applause – make sure you have the portraits of your family in shot as well as a photo of you and David Beckham and refuse to take any questions because you are so annoyed*

Shocking I know, first a press ethics inquiry, then a banking one but a David Beckham one? Well the way the tabloids are acting then it would go down quite well…

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Only One Person Should Light the Olympic Flame…

My fellow Lib Dem and former Journalism course-mate and long time Football Manager adversary Sean Breslin sent me this earlier today. A guest blog on who he thinks should light the Olympic flame. Not a bad shout Sean, not a bad shout at all…

As the days and weeks pass the excitement and fervour in the country grows before the beginning of the most important summer in Britain’s sporting history. It is not an understatement to suggest London 2012 could be monumental for sport in this country. Put simply heroes will be made, heroes who’s life will change forever and of course the odd villain might appear as well.

But before all the action starts there is the torch relay and this week the street by street route as well as a 7300 strong squad will take the torch around the islands of Britain. One key omission from this announcement was those entrusted with the relay on the final day and the question on everyone’s lips will be just who will light the Olympic Cauldron at the end of the opening ceremony.

There will be a clamour for a long list of Olympic heroes from Sir Steve through to Mary Peters but how about someone who never won an Olympic medal. Possibly the greatest sportsman and advocate of the Olympian spirit of amateur sport Britain has ever produced. Sir Roger Bannister.

Yes he may well be 83 come July but nobody deserves this accolade more than the man who first broke the four minute mile. The first ever recipient of Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year encapsulates everything good about sport. Here is a man who sums up sport better than anyone else when he said ‘The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win’.

A man who finished fourth at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 (despite setting a British record) is not the distinguished Olympian that normally lights the cauldron. His feat of sporting excellence in 1954 by breaking the four minute mile have been well documented, what is not so well known by the general public is just how great a man he was.

To me his greatest achievement was as chairman of the sports council (now Sport England), under his stewardship local and central government’s involvement in sport grew greatly and the building of all sports facilities grew greatly, giving every Olympian who represents Britain this year the opportunity to train in an environment that allowed them to be the sportsmen and women they are.

This legacy of sporting immortality, a pioneer who initiated the first ever Anabolic steroid testing in sport, a man who’s tenure as head of the sports council will be seen across the nation and I have even mentioned his work as a neurologist, should be rewarded by the country he served so well.

So for me there can only be one man entrusted with the job, so Seb do the right thing and make Britain and the world proud by awarding this honour to Sir Roger Bannister.

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